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What is periodontics?
This is a subspecialty of dentistry which studies the supporting structures of teeth and the conditions and diseases that affect them. The supporting tissues of the teeth are known as the periodontium. This includes the gums (gingival), cementum, alveolar bone and the periodontal ligament. Periodontics also involves placing and maintaining dental implants. Periodontics is also known as periodontology.Who is a periodontist?
This is a dentist who has specialized in diagnosing, treating diseases and conditions affecting the supporting structures of the teeth. A periodontist has received extensive training. After completing dental school, a periodontist studies periodontology for an additional three years. Periodontists can perform both general and cosmetic periodontal procedures.What is periodontal disease?
This is an infection affecting the structures around the teeth including the gums, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligament. In the early stages of the disease also known as gingivitis, the gums are affected. This is characterized by swollen and bleeding gums. In more severe cases of periodontal disease, all of the tissues are affected. This is characterized by loosening of the teeth.What causes periodontal diseases?
Periodontal disease is as a result of bacteria in dental plaque. This combined with host immuno-inflammatory mechanisms and various risk factors lead to the destruction of the supporting tissues and bone around natural teeth.How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Symptoms of periodontal disease
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss regularly between your teeth to remove plaque
- Routinely visit the dentist for checkups and teeth cleaning
- Do not smoke or use tobacco
Treatment for periodontal disease?
- Persistent bad breath
- Red and/or swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Teeth sensitivity
- Receding gums which can make the teeth appear longer
Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing): This procedure involves removing the plaque by deeply cleaning the teeth and it is known as scaling and root planning. Scaling is used to scrape off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planning is used to get rid of rough spots on the root of the tooth which is where germs and bacteria gather. In some cases, a laser is used to remove the tartar and plaque. The use of a laser results in less swelling, bleeding and discomfort.Surgical Treatments
Your periodontist may recommend surgery if inflammation and deep pockets remain after treatment with deep cleaning and medications. These treatments include:
- Flap surgery: This procedure involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. Removal of tartar deposits and reducing the periodontal pockets makes it easier to keep the area clean. The periodontist then sutures the gum back together so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth just as before.
- Bone and tissue grafts: This procedure is used to help regenerate lost bone or gum tissue. Natural or synthetic bone is placed in the area with lost bone to promote bone growth. If gum tissue has been lost a soft tissue graft may be used. This involves taking a synthetic material or using tissue taken from another mouth area to cover exposed roots.
After care : Depending on how far the disease has progressed, medications such as mouthwash and antibacterial mouth gels can be used to kill the bacteria that cause plaque.
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